Spotlight: The Art Quilt Gallery NYC

1 Jul 2011

art quilt gallery, noriko endoThe Art Quilt Gallery NYC has generated quite the buzz since it opened in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City this past April. It's no wonder considering the lineup of incredible quilt artists they've already booked for shows including Noriko Endo, whose work is currently on display. 

Owners Cathy Izzo and Dale Riehl opened the commercial gallery alongside their well-known quilt shop The City Quilter. Cathy Izzo was kind enough to answer my questions about The Art Quilt Gallery NYC and I was excited to learn more about how the gallery came to be and what shows they are currently planning.

You are the only commercial gallery in New York City focused solely on contemporary art quilts. How did The Art Quilt Gallery NYC come to be and how did you decide this was a niche that needed to be filled?

Dale and I had been attending International Quilt Market in Houston for many years. In Houston you get to see the cream of quilting from around the world, the best of the best, and it's so striking. We talked about how more people should see the amazing quilts we were able to see in Houston. In New York City not as many people know about art quilting and we wanted to show people what's really going on in the art quilt community.

We had an unexpected opportunity to expand our store and when that happened we decided to devote part of the new space to the gallery. If we'd had to get a new space to open the gallery, it most likely wouldn't have happened. Opening The Art Quilt Gallery NYC is very close to both of our hearts, and we feel the amazing work being done by art quilters today should be seen by more people.

I've read that you seek to counter the age-old misrepresentation that quilts can't be high art. Can you share how this influences the way you run the gallery?

Traditionally quilting has not been considered fine art, I think, partly because it's mostly women who do it and it's something that started out as a domestic art-out of necessity and use. And while not every quilt is necessarily classified as art, there are quilts that are art. The first artist we chose to exhibit was Daphne Taylor who is not as well known as some art quilters. But she has a fine arts background, with a master's in painting. She switched to creating textiles about 15 years ago and she has been an artist all her life. We felt she was a good example to be the first exhibitor in our gallery.

Your quilt shop, The City Quilter, has long been a destination for quilt enthusiasts, including international tourists and locals alike. The shop is located next door to the gallery. What audience are you hoping to draw into the gallery? Are you hoping to broaden the audience to non-quilters?

Most quilters who come to New York City seem to seek us out if they can. Now they have something extra to see. To be able to interact with world-class quilts almost every day of the year is an inspiration. We've had so many quilters come in and say that they had no idea that art quilts were like this. Our core customers are thrilled to see this level of work. On the other hand, we're trying to get non-quilters in. It is a commercial gallery, so the art is for sale. We try to draw other clientele such as interior decorators and people who buy art for public buildings.

What has been the response you've had from the NYC quilting community?

Everyone who walks into the gallery is so happy. People who come bring their friends back to share the work. It's very gratifying and we've gotten a lot of thanks which has been nice.

You also have lectures and special events. Is there an educational aspect to the gallery?

Definitely. Our second exhibit is with Noriko Endo and she will be teaching two classes and giving a gallery talk open to the public for free. We have a great opportunity to have world-famous art quilters come to New York City and interact with visitors. Carol Taylor will also be teaching an upcoming class. It's wonderful to get this caliber of quilter to teach and lecture.

noriko endo, art quilt gallery, art quilting

What are your future plans and how do you choose art quilters to exhibit in the gallery?

Carol Taylor's "Explosions in Color" opens on September 9, 2011 followed by "Material Witnesses," 22 quilts, each 36" x 36" from the 22 members of the Manhattan Quilters Guild. Judy Doenias is co-curating with me. We pour through books of quilts that we love, research people's submissions, and enjoy picking out people and have a lot of fun in the process. The potential for sale is an important consideration.

Can you tell us a little bit about the space? How large is it and how much space do you have to hang quilts?

The gallery is about 30 feet deep by 20 feet. It's not huge. For Daphne's exhibit we had 21 quilts Noriko has 11 quilts.

Noriko Endo's "Impressionist Quilts" is on display at The Art Quilt Gallery NYC, June 16 to August 6.

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 to 6 pm
Sunday & Monday by appointment only

133 West 25th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues


A huge thank you to Cathy Izzo and Dale Riehl for graciously sharing their experience opening and running The Art Quilt Gallery NYC.

Have you been to The Art Quilt Gallery NYC or are you planning a visit? Please leave a comment below.






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Lindy101 wrote
on 1 Jul 2011 8:06 AM

Thanks for sharing this space/place with everyone! The more exposure art quilts receive, the more all will be inspired to create. How exciting! The 'pebble in the pond' effect, ever spiraling and expanding outward.

doktrmom wrote
on 9 Jul 2011 7:14 AM

My son is in school on LI so I can't wait to visit this fall and see the quilts the shop and the boy :)

on 9 Jul 2011 11:52 AM

Awesome gallery idea!

As a fellow art-quilt creator I am thrilled to see Cathy Izzo & Dale Riehl believing in what we do as artists.  I wish them the best and hope to see more galleries like The Art Quilt Gallery!


Jennifer Wheatley-Wolf

ksmith1227 wrote
on 11 Jul 2011 5:08 AM

I'd love to visit this gallery but why no address?  I know I could look it up but I was surprised that so much other information was given--phone number, hours, computer contact--but the address was omitted?  Not everyone visiting NYC knows where The City Quilter is located either?

on 11 Jul 2011 7:06 AM

Hello ksmith1227,

I'm glad you enjoyed the post and are interested in visiting. The address is:

133 West 25th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues.

It was not meant to be omitted, so thank you for the suggestion!